July 31, 2023

Close to half of non-retired Canadians have just $5K in savings: HOOPP study

Canadians within sight of the retirement finish line may have to put off their golden years, thanks to a lack of savings.

That’s one of the findings from new research by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and Abacus Data, reported on by Global News.

“With a prolonged period of rising inflation and interest rates, Canadians of all ages are finding it much harder to save for retirement, and specifically the older age group that really should be looking forward to retirement,” said HOOPP’s Ivana Zanardo states in the Global News article.

Inflation is still more than twice as high as the Bank of Canada’s target of two per cent, the article adds.

A sobering finding from the research, Global reports, is that “44 per cent of non-retired Canadians aged 55 to 64 have less than $5,000 in savings, with one in five from that group saying they have not set anything aside for retirement.”

“The picture is bleak for those older Canadians,” states Zanardo in the article.

The lack of personal savings and persistent inflation, the article notes, have some older Canadians rethinking the whole retirement thing.

“More than half of those surveyed aged 55 to 64 said if inflation keeps rising, they will have to push back their intended retirement date,” the article notes.

“What really stood out for us this year and what was concerning is the older age group, and the fact that they’re just not as prepared for retirement as one would hope they would be,” Zanardo tells Global News.

“At a period in their life when they should be getting excited about retirement, because of inflation and rising interest rates they’re now considering whether they can retire when they had planned on and whether they should be pushing that day out,” she tells the broadcaster.

Abacus Data CEO David Coletto, who has been aiding HOOPP’s research efforts for five years, notes that “70 per cent of respondents have consistently agreed that Canada is heading for a retirement crisis.”

Coletto spoke a while ago to Save with SPP about millennials and their attitudes to retirement saving — you can see that interview here.

Even though experts like Zanardo recommend saving for retirement “early… and often,” the research found that 44 per cent of respondents had not set aside any retirement savings in the previous year. The research found that 70 per cent of those surveyed “would take lower pay in exchange for a better pension.”

If you are fortunate enough to have any sort of retirement savings program at work, be sure you are contributing to the max. If you don’t have a workplace plan and haven’t really got going yet on retirement savings, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be just what you’re looking for. You decide how much you want to contribute each year — any amount up to the available registered retirement savings plan room you have. You can make your contributions automatic, like a workplace plan, by arranging for pre-authorized contributions direct from your bank account. Or, you can set up SPP as an online bill and pay yourself monthly, along with your heat, light and credit cards. You can even pay by credit card.

No matter how the contributions get to SPP, our team will professionally invest them in a pooled fund for a low cost. They’ll grow your savings, and when it’s finally time to escape from work, SPP will offer you a variety of retirement income options, including the chance at a lifetime monthly annuity payment. Check out SPP today!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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